Out of the Margins

Illustration by Warwick Goble from the Complete Poetical Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, 1912. © Alamy;

If you believe the neologism 'post-truth' describes a new phenomenon, think again. Geoffrey Chaucer diagnosed the problem at the end of the 14th century.

Cutting and loading wood: from an Anglo-Saxon calendar page for July, 11th century

The beginning of another year provides Eleanor Parker with an opportunity to reflect on a meditation on time that combines exquisite Old English poetry with early medieval science.  

The word of God: St Matthew depicted in the Grimbald Gospels, Canterbury, c.1010

Eleanor Parker reveals the scholarly network of knowledge that was at the heart of Anglo-Saxon England and the love these scholars had for the pleasures of the written word.

Transitory power: Henry I in 'Sir Thomas Holme's Book of Arms', English, 15th century

As the search for lost medieval kings continues, interest in them seems stronger than ever. But a warning from the past speaks of their – and our – ruin.